Dugong, the Sea Cow

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Most of us have never seen a dugong, because they live in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the waters around Australia. In many ways, their habits are like porpoises', but they are larger, often between 8 and 15 feet long and weighing up to 750 pounds. They are air-breathing mammals, but like the sea lions of the north, they have heavy bones which help them submerge quickly. Their nostrils automatically close when underwater, where they can remain from 5 to 8 minutes before returning to the surface for air.
Like dolphins and whales, dugongs stay close by their mates, usually traveling as a family with their calf beside them. If one is injured, the other stays close by, helping it rise to the surface for air. The female, which usually has one calf each year, floats on her back and cradles the little one in her flippers when nursing it. This permits the calf to breathe while nursing.
Unlike dolphins and whales, dugongs do not eat fish or marine life. Their diet is strictly seaweed and grasses that grow beneath the water's surface. This explains the nickname "sea cow." God has equipped them especially for this kind of life. Since they feed mostly in the twilight or darkness, He has given them large eyes which have a protective, transparent covering instead of eyelids. Their ears are only openings on each side of their heads, yet they have excellent hearing.
Besides having efficient flippers, dugongs have forked tails similar to whales, which help them to maneuver swiftly. Their upper lips are covered with long, tough, bristle-like hairs which help them select plant food. Their teeth are designed to quickly cut through the tough stems of seaweed and other water plants. An adult will eat almost 100 pounds of food each day. Where large numbers group together, they use up the food supply and must move to another location.
Dugongs have been around since the days of creation and were given all their abilities to survive when the Lord God created them. All their needs were provided for when they were placed on the earth.
As the many wonders of God's creation come to our attention, it is good to think about His counsel: "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth" (Eccl. 12:11Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; (Ecclesiastes 12:1)). We know He is the Creator of all things, but He is more than that to those who believe His Word: "[He] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth...[and to believe in] the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:4-64Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2:4‑6)). Besides being your Creator, is He also your Savior?